Two hot topics in nutrition today are prebiotics and probiotics. The Mayo Clinic, healthline.com, and medicalnewstoday.com are just a few of the many groups concerned with proper health and nutrition that are looking at how prebiotics and probiotics contribute to our well-being. Here are some of the things they’re telling us.

Prebiotics and probiotics may sound alike, but they are two different things. Yet, both are key contributors to human health. They work together to help the body in building and maintaining healthy beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms in our digestive track to support the gut and aid digestion.

Prebiotics and probiotics work together. Prebiotics are natural nondigestible plant fibers that help stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria to produce nutrients for your colon and help maintain a healthier digestive system. They’re promoters of “good” bacteria. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria. These are usually live strains of beneficial bacteria that feed off prebiotics and directly add to the billions of healthy microbes in your gut and may boost immunity and overall health, especially gastrointestinal health. And good gut health can have a positive impact on other body areas. Probiotics, for example, have been used for managing irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. All told, the benefits of these two components include supporting a healthy gut, offering better digestive health, fewer antibiotic-related health problems, and possibly even better mental health.

We take in prebiotics and probiotics through diet. Making health-promoting foods that contain prebiotics and probiotics a part of a daily diet is easy. If you eat healthy and are fiber-conscious, chances are, you’re probably already eating many of the right foods. Foods that are high in prebiotic fiber include fruits and vegetables like bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, and others. Whole wheat foods are also part of that group. You’ll find probiotics in many fermented foods such as cultured nondairy yogurts, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, and tempeh. These food components help promote beneficial bacteria by helping to create an intestinal environment where microorganisms can flourish.

Prebiotics and Probiotics as Dietary Supplements

Prebiotics and probiotics are also available as dietary supplements. Prebiotic supplements usually contain a complex carbohydrate such as fiber. Probiotic supplements contain live organisms. Many supplements of both types are directed at specific conditions—weight management, bone loss, or irritable bowel syndrome, for example.

For people who are considering taking a supplement to ensure a proper balance of prebiotics and probiotics, consult with your physician or a registered dietitian/nutritionist to find out which options might be appropriate for you. Once you’ve reviewed your options, Active Life Daily has a wide range of digestive health supplements to address your requirements.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.